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Using Appless Technology to Meet Contactless Guest Needs

Nov 11,2021

The popularity of touchless technology has skyrocketed across the hospitality industry, due in part to the effects of the pandemic; however, given the advantages these solutions provide, they’re likely to remain an integral part of the guest experience for years to come.

In addition to providing enhanced safety by reducing common touchpoints in a property, touchless technology improves guest experiences by introducing seamless self-service options, enhancing communication between staff and guests and allowing hoteliers to provide more personalized stays. Despite the undeniable benefits and wide adaptation of these solutions across the globe, however, many small hotel groups and boutique hoteliers can still remain hesitant in implementing them.

As smaller-sized businesses, such hoteliers often may simply not have a dedicated mobile app allowing guests to access contactless services or other property amenities from a single, user-friendly source. Equally as important, this industry segment no doubt also wishes to avoid the complications and costs that can arise when attempting to integrate contactless services into their existing operations in a way that enhances guest convenience instead of creating additional barriers.     

Yet thanks to ongoing innovations in technology, even mobile app-deprived hoteliers can now also begin to adopt the contactless services that today’s guests expect without first having to concern themselves with creating and deploying an app. URL-based ‘appless’ solutions are increasingly being made available that can serve as an alternative to traditional mobile app strategies and in some cases, can even provide guests with greater convenience and faster service. From QR codes to Near Field Communication (NFC), hoteliers regardless of property type and size are now able to leverage a range of new and innovative methods to meeting the latest guest expectations in a way that is affordable and suited to the unique design of their operations.   

 

Property Websites

Within the industry-wide digital transformation, hotel websites have rapidly evolved to include many new capabilities once solely limited to the domain of mobile apps. Using cloud-based technology, a hotelier’s PMS and web -powered access system can seamlessly deploy an array of appless contactless features including digital check-in and room access, restaurant or event reservations, room service as well as other common payment and ordering services.

With a few simple clicks, guests can easily interact with and make requests a range of services on their personal devices without requiring a single download of an app. Using QR codes around the property for example, hoteliers can provide guests with instant access to hotel information and offerings with a just a quick scan using their device’s camera. This can include providing QR codes for a faster check-in experience or to provide a direct link to a hotel’s F&B menu items featured on its website and much more. With the placement of QR codes throughout a property, hoteliers also gain an added benefit of being able to more widely promote offerings to guests currently staying onsite. The use of QR codes instead of a mobile app can also provide guests with a greater sense of familiarity by allowing them to navigate the same hotel website they may have previously visited. By maximizing guest familiarity with using and navigating a property’s website,  hoteliers can  also boost the ability to encourage more guests to book using a hotel’s direct booking engine.

Centralized systems, which often host many hotel functions within a singular platform, offer an additional benefit for hoteliers integrating contactless services onto a property website by creating an arguably more seamless process than hoteliers using a mobile app. Because app-based technology relies on Bluetooth to communicate between guest phones and property systems, hosting these services on a cloud-based website offers much more security, while also requiring much less staff training to operate.

Guest Kiosks

In a recent survey of 2,654 travelers, 78 percent of respondents said they would like to see self-serve kiosks more widely available for check-in, and the uniqueness of this option is no wonder; utilizing kiosks is another appless alternative offering hoteliers the benefit of blending the benefits of contactless service while maintaining the traditionally human element to hospitality. Because self-service kiosks regularly collect data, guest experiences can be increasingly personalized to their individual interests and needs.

The flexibility of kiosks also allows hoteliers to meet any property budget and requirements. Simple kiosks placed in-lobby allow guests to check into the hotels, reducing long front desk lines, while additional kiosks placed throughout the property also enable guests to easily order food or drinks, reserve a spot at a property amenity or join the restaurant’s waitlist. Innovative new kiosks can check in guests using biometrics, meeting the needs of guests who enjoy the seamlessness of contactless services but still prefer physical keycards.

Texting

Enabling guests to communicate with hotel staff by text message, which has quickly become a vital communication tool, offers innovative and cost-effective opportunities to integrate contactless services without requiring a dedicated mobile app. Automated messaging systems can send guests welcome messages with links to check-in virtually, while check-out messages can provide guests with the ability to pay for their stay digitally.

Staff receiving messages from guests can resolve a variety of requests in a contactless format. Housekeeping requests can be input into a property’s task management system, while reservations to a property’s restaurant, golf course, spa or other property amenities can also be completed by text message. AI-enabled messaging can further promote contactless services without overwhelming hotel employees, ensuring guest needs are swiftly met while simultaneously reducing the complexity of operations.

Appless technology can provide hoteliers with virtually identical contactless services that importantly offer the same level of instant and hassle-free access that today’s guests expect. As guest needs continue to evolve, mobile guest communication strategies can be widely adapted to fit unique property needs—granting hoteliers the competitive edge they need to thrive in a post-pandemic market.

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